December 14th, 2011
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reported the Northern San Juan Mountains received anywhere from six to 16 inches in the past 48 hours. And it’s still snowing. Red Mountain Pass and Silverton were favored in this storm and control work on the pass produced nine avalanches, five hit the highway.
Current CAIC Danger Rose for the Northern San Juan Mountains
This information is invaluable to backcountry users and is made possible by careful observation by the CAIC. So show your support this week. CAIC is hosting two fundraisers for folks on either side of the Sneffels Range.
Tomorrow CAIC will be at Ouray Community Center and Friday at Telluride’s Sheridan Opera House. Art Burrows will present his book Fifty Classic Ski Descents documenting iconic ski mountaineering tours of North America. A silent auction will follow and libations will be served. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are $15 at the door.
December 12th, 2011
The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, is calling for snow for the San Juans beginning this afternoon and continuing through Wednesday afternoon. This Pacific storm could bring snowfall accumulations ranging from six to 12 inches in the high country … where the huts are located! Cross your fingers and think snow!
December 12th, 2011
Wondering what the snow conditions are like up high in the Sneffels Range? The double track road approaches to the huts are snow packed and fast, making simply the journey to the huts an athletic and visual experience—taking in the Mount Sneffels Range views from these approaches are unbeatable. A true San Juan Mountains experience. Once you’ve reached the hut, explore the terrain surrounding. We have route descriptions and GPS coordinates for surrounding tours.
Mount Sneffels seen from the road into the Blue Lakes Hut
But, as always, be prepared for early season dangers like hidden obstacles and unstable snowpack. And, as always, be backcountry aware and prepared for winter travel.
Willow Swamp & Mount Sneffels Range on Route to Blue Lakes Hut
December 7th, 2011
Digging a pit in the Silverton area. Photo by Matt Lanning
Regional avy courses are filling fast—is yours booked? Check out Silverton Avalanche School, Southwest Adventure Guides and Peak Mountain Guides for Level I and II courses. Classes begin mid-December and run through the winter. Best to take a Level I or II, a backcountry ski or rescue course early in the season so you can put your knowledge to the test. After avy school graduation, come stay with us for half price at one of our five Sneffels Range backcountry ski huts. A perfect classroom for avy observation, digging pits, studying snow crystals, and practicing safe ski touring protocol.
December 6th, 2011
The San Juan Mountains welcomed another series of winter storm pulses since Saturday, and the end result? An average of about a foot of snow blanketing the region. As the skies cleared last night, the temps dropped and we saw our first cold snap of the season. Temperatures in Ridgway plummeted as low as -10. Telluride and Silverton saw similar below zero temps. Burr…
Telluride’s Bear Creek
What’s been left in the wake of the storm is inspiration to get into the winter backcountry. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reported the Red Mountain area received about 8-10 inches, Telluride about 16 inches and Silverton, as is the norm, gladly received the most snow accumulation, about 16-20 inches.
Don’t forget to check in with CAIC forecasts and travel safely in the backcountry.
December 1st, 2011
Regional ski resorts got the bullwheels rolling last week and got skiers and riders lapping up groomers.This weekend take a break from the groomed and try advanced, ungroomed terrain at our neighboring Silverton Mountain ski area. Opening day is Saturday and is followed by Silverton Mountain and Venture Snowboard‘s famous kickoff party at the Grand Imperial in Silverton. They’re hosting live music, door prizes and a raffle for Venture’s limited edition Ska Brewing Euphoria board.
Silverton Mountain plans to open 30 of its advanced runs with a 30-40 inch base already in place. Word is the north shots are skiing really well.
December 1st, 2011
It’s time to get those legs in shape for winter, and plan your San Juan Mountains ski destinations for the winter. Want to make some free turns at Silverton Mountain this year? Well, you’re going to have to stomp for it. Silverton Mountain’s annual bootpacking kickoff begins this weekend and is offered the weekend of Dec. 10 and 11. Duct tape your pants to your boots (keeps the snow out) and join Silverton’s ski patrol on the ski area to pack out the snow. Each day you work, you’ll receive a ticket for one day of unguided skiing.
With your body getting into ski mode, come trek up to our huts and make some turns on this side of the hill.
November 23rd, 2011
While we wait for a snow scene like this one, spend some time mapping out your excursion. We now have Google Earth imaging that brings you up close and personal with our winter huts. 3-D images zoom you into our five destination hut and from there you can check out the ski terrain surrounding. Whether your hut stay will include couloir skiing, summit seeking or simply long, easy traverses, our Google Earth images can help you plan your routes. Use in conjunction with our topo, satellite and terrain maps to map out your trip.
November 23rd, 2011
This holiday week, many Colorado ski resorts get the bullwheels rolling for another winter season. Get your winter legs on because it’s time. We are also welcoming winter and opening the huts this weekend. Have you booked your ski hut trip? Stay at our destination ski huts this winter, we’ve got a slew of discounts to make your trip affordable and as always, enjoyable.
November 18th, 2011
A recent storm left this bike undecided. Is the riding season really over? Some diehards refuse making weekend pilgrimages to the desert or the Colorado landscapes that still hold a resemblance to late fall like Fruita and Cortez. Others, like us here at San Juan Huts, are waiting for the snow.
Our last big storm was predicted to be a small storm. One inch or so was thought to dust the area. But much to our surprise, we woke up to over a foot blanketing even the banana belt town of Ridgway. And blanketing the bike. Our last small storm was forecast to be a big storm, and so what was expected to be another foot gracing our town turned out to be rain forming puddles. Mountain weather never ceases to surprise, and as they say, “only fools and newcomers predict the weather.” So apropos.
Whether winter hits us this weekend again with a forecasted Pacific storm for the San Juans, or our Indian Fall persists through the holiday week, there is still nothing like living in the San Juan Mountains. Even if it is in-between-seasons season.